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How to Spread Peace in a Pandemic

How to Spread Peace in a Pandemic

COVID-19—even before we knew exactly what it would do, it sounded intimidating.

Many of us have never experienced anything like a global pandemic before, and certainly not on our own doorstep; we don’t know how to process it, much less respond to it. But we do know that, as believers, our response should honor Christ and draw others to Him.

Even if you’re not a healthcare provider treating the sick or a medical professional researching a vaccine, what you say and do when the world is in chaos is crucial to your family and community.

Here are 8 powerful ways to fight fear and be a carrier of hope and peace in the coming weeks.  

1. Remember That God Is Sovereign

God is in control—I’ve heard this said so many times in the last few days it almost bounces off my brain as a meaningless cliché. But forgetting the truth of it allows fear to master us, and we disappear behind the wave of dark uncertainty sweeping across the world.

In order to give peace to others, we must cultivate first within ourselves.

We must exchange that uncertainty for confidence in God’s sovereignty each moment, every time there’s an unsettling development.

With every surge in new cases, close your eyes and whisper to your fearful heart, “God is in charge—not COVID-19 or even the CDC—God.”

Settling our confidence on Christ is something we must do with purpose. Turn your eyes to God’s Word and remember:

God is your refuge (Read Psalm 91)

God is your provider (Read Matthew 6:25-34)

God is in control (Read Job 38)

2. Pray as a First Resort

It’s easy to feel helpless in times like these. Many of the typical things we would do to support each other are now discouraged because they involve physical contact.

We can’t even gather for group worship or share a few comforting laughs. I know I tend to view prayer as a last resort when nothing else can be done, but it’s really the most important thing we can do in any situation—especially right now.

Pray for our leaders. While we sit in our homes and wonder what’s going to happen, they are making the difficult decisions, weighing the pros and cons of each one. They are thinking forward, moving the nation toward recovery both physically and economically. Pray that they would acknowledge their inability to control this situation and recognize their desperate need for God’s guidance. Ask Him to protect them and give them wisdom and strength for each day.

Pray for healthcare workers. They are overwhelmed, watching COVID-19 cases pour in and wondering how long they will be able to care for everyone. They are exhausted, working long shifts with little time to eat or rest.

And they are taking the brunt of people’s fear and frustration as supplies and space dwindle. Pray for God’s hand in their lives, drawing them to depend on Him for their strength and comfort.

Ask God to give them the clarity and energy they need to help their patients. Ask Him to give our doctors and nurses just one moment to stop, breathe deeply, and receive the encouragement they need to keep moving forward.

Pray for the sick.

This virus has affected so many in the world, and they all need our prayers today. Ask Jesus, the Great Physician, to lay His hands on them and heal them.

Ask Him to strengthen their bodies and enable them to fend off the virus. Pray that, while they are lying in hospital beds or at home, God would speak to them in the stillness—that they would recognize His voice and cry out to Him.

Ask Him to fill their lungs with air and their hearts with the warmth of His loving presence.

The world needs our prayers right now. Some people are alone in their homes with no one to lean on or talk to. Some are older, unable to get to the store for the supplies they need.

And everyone is afraid, even if they pretend not to be.

Prayer is not a last resort; it is our appeal to “the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God” (1 Timothy 1:17) to reach into this situation and work powerfully as only He can. 

3. Worship the King of the Universe

Just because we can’t worship together doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be lifting our praises to God. It may feel strange, even wrong to sing in the face of tragedy. But few things settle our gaze on Christ more steadily than worship.

I get lost in my head very easily, mulling over what-ifs, skimming frightening statistics in my subconscious, and imagining the worst outcome of every situation. Many of you can identify with that, I’m sure.

What I find the most helpful is picking a worship album, channel, or station, and allowing it to fill whatever room I’m in. If you’re like my fiancé and have fully embraced the convenience of having Alexa in every room, then broadcast music to the whole house.

Lift your hands and praise Jesus for everything He has done, is doing, and will do. Thank Him for holding our world, for being in control, and for remaining eternally unchangeable. He is our solid rock, our peace, our vision, and our fountain of blessing.

Here are some favorites to get you started:

Lauren Daigle - In Christ Alone (Acoustic)

Audrey Assad - It Is Well With My Soul

Audrey Assad - Be Thou My Vision

Chris Tomlin - Come Thou Fount (I Will Sing)

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Ben White

4. Choose Your Information Sources Carefully

I will admit to fixating on all the wrong things in situations like these. As I scan headlines, read reports, and watch CNNs latest update, I can feel fear twisting in my gut.

We should absolutely be informed and aware of what’s going on around us, but there are so many sources focused more on entertainment than accuracy.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of reputable sources more dedicated to facts than fearmongering. But there are certainly many media sources being the light in the darkness, which is precisely what we’re called to do as Christians.

There are hopeful, beautiful things happening, even (or perhaps especially) during a tragedy:

10 Positive Updates on the COVID-19 Outbreaks From Around the World

9 Encouraging Quotes about COVID-19 from Christian Leaders

Chick-fil-A Delivers 1,000 Meals to Washington Hospital Impacted by Coronavirus

If we’re not selective about our sources of information, we can become sources of fear ourselves. And that is not what Christ has called us to be (Matthew 5:14).

I encourage you to balance the attention you give to standard news reports with the time you spend looking for the good news, or even setting all news aside for a few minutes to seek the Lord.

And if, like me, you’re particularly prone to anxiety, it might be helpful to step away from media entirely. Ask someone you trust to keep you updated.

5. Watch Your Thoughts and Your Words

We’re all afraid. Prayer and worship won’t whisk it away, nor will pretending it doesn’t exist. But as followers of Christ, we must guard our words. There is always someone listening. Even if we’re alone, we hear what we say which has a dramatic impact on our thoughts.

When you chat with someone, be it friends or family, are you talking more about how threatening COVID-19 is, or how mighty your God is?

We become peace-bearers when we speak hope into fearful hearts, including our own. The Bible is full of “but God” statements (Ephesians 2:1-6), and we can use those two simple words to saturate our speech with faith:

“People are sick…but God is our healer (Jehovah-Rapha).”

“No one knows what to do or which way to turn…but God is our shepherd (Jehovah-R’oi).”

“The world is reeling with uncertainty…but God is our peace (Jehovah-Shalom).”

6. Make Good Use of Your Time

With schools and businesses closing, many of us find our schedules abruptly slowed and simplified. As accustomed as we are to rushing from one activity to the next, this can make things incredibly difficult because we don’t know what to do without that structure.

So, we turn on the TV, binge the show we’ve been wanting to watch, lose ourselves in mindless diversions, and try not to panic. But something I discovered maybe a year or two ago: using entertainment to reduce stress is temporary.

The moment you stop the movie or pause the game, the worry swarms back. This isn’t true for everyone, but entertainment is often a good way to bury our heads in the sand so we don’t have to deal with difficult circumstances; avoidance is a natural first response.

Consider using extra space in your schedule to do constructive activities, either by yourself or with the people in your household.

Connect with each other for a board game night.  

Pick up a hobby you haven’t had time for like playing an instrument or painting.

Channel anxious, cooped up energy into a spring clean of the house or yard.

Being active and productive goes a long way toward settling the uneasiness we’re all experiencing.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Priscilla Du Preez

7. Check Up on Friends and Neighbors

Focusing on the wellbeing of our friends and neighbors is an excellent way to limit the attention we give our fear and offer others the comfort of knowing that we care about them. I’ve been anti-social media for a while now, but this week I began to understand its merits.

My fiancé has connected remotely with our neighbors and discovered that many are offering to deliver needed groceries for those who can’t get out on their own.

Just a porch-drop of course, to limit contact, but what a perfect way to let those around you know that you’re thinking about and looking out for them!

The possibilities are endless, thanks to the technology we enjoy today. Make phone calls, talk on Skype, organize internet game nights (we just did this on Jackbox yesterday). There are so many ways to stay connected with others, even during a pandemic.

8. Give, Don’t Hoard

If you’ve been to the grocery store lately, then you know that a huge portion of the population is in a buying frenzy, snatching products off the shelves as fast as stores can stock them. And with so many unknowns, it’s easy to get swept up in that hoarding mindset.

What if all the stores close? What if there’s a mandatory quarantine? Fear swells as supplies diminish.

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared, but in my experience, hyper-focusing on physical needs and potential shortages is the quickest way to give up my peace.

We fret about food and medicine and clothing, but Matthew gently reminds us “your heavenly Father knows that you need them” (Matthew 6:32). He knows! You don’t need to worry.

Give a few cans of ravioli to the older gentleman across the street. Offer that extra pack of toilet paper to the frantic woman in the grocery store who rushed down the aisle seconds after you grabbed the last one. Take care of each other.

Spreading peace in a pandemic is about mastering fear, trusting our God, and caring for others in whatever ways we can. It’s about settling our gaze on Jehovah-Shalom so we can separate from the panic and be a source of steadiness for those around us.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Nastco 

Caroline Madison is a freelance editor and writer with a passion for the written word and a special interest in telling and reading stories that present biblical truths in fresh ways. She also enjoys writing flash fiction, drawing pencil portraits, and playing piano.

Caroline Madison is a freelance editor and writer with a passion for the written word and a special interest in telling and reading stories that present biblical truths in fresh ways. She also enjoys writing flash fiction, drawing pencil portraits, and playing piano.

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